gear shifting problems, '18 DL650 - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Twin Cities, MN, USA
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gear shifting problems, '18 DL650

I'm a bit over 1000 miles on my bike. My first oil change at less than 200 miles was to Mobil 1 4T 10/40. After a few hundred miles more, shifting was feeling notchy, maybe a little gritty. There was nothing smooth about the process. As time went on, on occasion downshifting would give a false neutral between each gear when trying to do multi-down clicks on one clutch lever pull. I'd pull the lever and down shift, and a second toe tap to go down one more resulted in a false neutral, I'd have to partially release the lever, hear and feel the transmission engage that lower gear, pull the lever back in, down shift again, try for 2 toe-taps on 1 lever pull, only get one down shift, then partially release the lever and feel the next lower gear engage... over and over from whatever upper gear I was in. This behavior is sporadic but happened maybe a few times with each trip.

This spring start-up, nearing 1000, I drained the Mobil 1 and put in Amsoil 10/40 motorcycle oil and a fresh filter. Much improvement, until after just a couple hundred miles the behavior has started again. Notchy and gritty gearing up or down, and sporadic episodes of false neutrals between down shifts. (When this happens, it happens through the entire down shift range, from whatever gear I am in all the way to 1st.)

My engine oil level is full (not over-full), the clutch lever is adjusted according to the owner's manual and the Dr. VStrom video, and the cable action feels good. I can confirm freeplay at both ends of the cable, but it sure is feeling like the adjustment needed is beyond a cable adjustment. Am I looking at service inside the clutch or transmission?

I'm a gentle 50-year old rider- no speed shifting, no clutch-less shifting, no "shifting to 7th gear" occurrences.

Thoughts? Thanks.
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post #2 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 09:43 AM Sponsor
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Warranty? If so, take it in. This is not normal and something is wrong. At a minimum you will get it on the record. in case something fails later.
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post #3 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, still under warranty. My plan will be to take it in to the dealer. I'm hoping someone (unfornately) has some wisdom to what might be happening so I can be smarter going in.

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post #4 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 10:03 AM
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Shifting should be firm and positive. A lot of shifting problems can be traced back to a lazy left foot. One shift per clutch pull is how it's designed to work, multiple shifts on one clutch pull may work sometimes, but the transmission shafts are both spinning and needs the lever release between each movement of the shift lever. Also, 1000 miles isn't much, could still need a bit of break in to smooth some rough edges.
Of course, if in doubt, nothing wrong with having the dealer check for possible warranty issue. These bikes are mostly trouble free, but somtimes stuff breaks.
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post #5 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 10:54 AM
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These gearboxes have a notchy feel to them, especially when cold.
I suggest that you be a little more aggressive with the rpms.
I have never been able to change down two gears with one clutch pull, and frankly I have trained myself to keep the revs up to 4,000rpm+ as I slow for a corner so that I am in the right gear to accelerate away as I round the corner. It does not matter, and I am not really sure if I am in 3rd or 4th - I just know that I have the rpms to pull away smartly as the corner opens up. Full clutch pulls are not required, just a quick brmm, brmm, brmm as you pull/fan the clutch and depress the shifter as you lightly brake for the corner.

Practice, and make this your normal riding style. Your V-Strom will respond by making fast exits out of turns and you will also be able to control your lean with the throttle. I tend to attempt a tight lean into blind unknown corners and by having the power on tap with the revs up I can pick up the bike with the throttle when I am turning too tight. This is a far safer way around a corner than risking going wide and either into oncoming traffic or going off the road. I often find myself having to power on half way around a corner to lift myself and the bike up when everything but my wheels is over the roadside grass, or worse still - in the oncoming lane.

These bikes do not like 3,000rpms. Keep those revs up.

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post #6 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 11:22 AM
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These gear boxes can be notchy at times, but what you are experiencing isn't normal. My 650 is extremely smooth shifting, take off your shifter from the frame shaft and lube it with waterproof grease to start, I would also consider adjusting the linkage itself up a bit higher.

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post #7 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 11:27 AM
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I was going to suggest lubing the linkage but Big B beat me too it. You might also double check that your cable has the correct amount of slack in it.
If none of the above I would head to the dealer with it.


2006 DL650: 202,000 km 125,500 miles, Sold
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post #8 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 11:56 AM
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Doesn't sound normal, as my 2017 has the smoothest motorcycle gearbox I have ever driven.

Bob S.
2017 Vstrom 650 Base model (White)
2017 Yamaha YZ250X (Sold)....Hopefully WR250R soon
Previous loves:
1982 Yamaha 650 Seca
1978 Honda CB550
1975 Suzuki GT380
1977 Yamaha RD400
1973 Can Am MX1 125 (bought while Mom out of town)
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post #9 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 02:03 PM
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On my 2017 I was told NOT to change the oil for the first 1000 miles. OP changed it at 200 miles > why ?
According to the dealer and owners manual it needs this time to break in the transmission.
I did experience some false nuetrals a few times. very early on. And failure to shift up or down when rpm's are too low
(as Brockie mentioned) However - My bike will shift down multiple gears on a single clutch pull.
When slowing from 6th I try to shift down 2 gears on each clutch pull and release slowly then repeat. I'm at a shade over
1300 miles and the transmission seems to be getting smoother by the mile.

I was told the factory oil is a break in oil which is more like mineral oil. My bike got the best fuel economy with that factory
oil in it. After the first change it went down to about 58 avg. from 65 avg.

Sometimes changing the oil too soon can be a bad thing. Shoulda, woulda, coulda ship has sailed.

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post #10 of 42 Old 05-11-2019, 06:57 PM
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Wow - I was just commenting to my riding buddy - that soon after I went past 3000 miles on my 18XT the shifting became super smooth - and yes the rpms are a factor - 4000 seems to be a sweet spot. Almost feels like you don't need any clutch.

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